Tag Archive: we ghosts


12794971_942957899158565_6151846002226574455_oIt’s going to be a good week in town for those who like their music…well, their rock music at least, as most days have a generous helping of the dulcet sounds of classic rock and metal both original and otherwise. So don your favourite band t-shirt, slip on the black stretch jeans and for that real old-school vibe see if the patched sleeveless denim jacket still fits. Hold on to your bullet belts…we’re going in.

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12654486_10153972441136757_7705425637639042490_nAnother busy week ahead for our music venues so I will get straight on with things, stopping only to mention that this is my 300th gig guide for the paper. Ballpark figures make that about 250, 000 words (if you include the extra reviews I throw in) a high percentage of them the likes of “ethereal,” “effervescent,” “fruition” and “plethora,” …blimey, no wonder I get called pretentious!

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10525987_715675548547700_1189665388901185636_nIt was interesting to recently read that Tesco are stocking vinyl records in some of their stores as the sales of the format rise to mid-90’s levels. Admittedly the selection is limited to mainly the high volume end of the mainstream market but it is still an interesting trend. Are people getting bored with the digital world? Do they actually want something physical to show for their money? Can we expect wax cylinders to be the next retro-experiment and perhaps the return of the Pathe newsreel on our TVs? And of course the more pertinent question is will this reversal of trends cross over into support for “real time, actual live people playing music at you” type of gigs? We can only hope.

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1148809_503701169718211_1721662663_nSo that’s it, all done. Twelfth Night has been and gone, the decorations are back in the attic, though you will be picking pine needles out of your socks until May, the Christmas supplies have been depleted, all but the hardly touched bottle of egg-nog and some dubious looking figs and it is time to look forward to the future (…it’s only just begun…still got that damn tune stuck in my head.). So armed only with a new gym membership and a handful of good intentions we step forth into a new year, a blank page to document the next chapter… in bestest handwriting please.

 

And we get off to a great start at The Victoria tonight with the first Songs of Praise show of the year. Headliners, The Black Feathers, have made quite a name for themselves with their amazing vocal harmonies and blend of Celtic folk and Americana roots music. Joining them are Little Red another roots outfit driven by sweet boy-girl vocal interplay and opening the night is the quintessentially and often eccentrically English sounds of George Wilding.

 

Staying at The Victoria, on Friday, intelligent, direct, melodic and occasionally anthemic rock is on offer with Clay Gods and joining them are Goodbye The Sunset, a band who seem to channel something of the spirit and sound of what first turned my ear to The Gaslight Anthem, so no complaints here. Opening the show are the aptly named Dirty Smooth who manage to mix raw rock with acoustica or as they put it “tunes hard enough for the boys to rock out too, but sweet enough for the girls to dance too!” Cunning.

 

The Rolleston, meanwhile, will be grooving to the jazz, funk and blues fusion that goes by the name of Rival Attraction and if a more ska, punk and New Wave vibe better suits your tastes then a quick visit to The Swiss Chalet to catch Operation 77 is in order.

 

Saturday sees We Ghosts return to The Beehive. This ever popular Anglo-Swedish band trade in an acoustic sound that ranges from stylishly driven rock to emotive, smoky, late night chill-outs but always with lush and distinctive vocals leading the way.

 

Elsewhere the rest of the evening options pretty much follow a less original tack, the best of which in my “over-inflated opinion” is 1000 Planets who will be delivering their Killing Joke set at The Victoria. So if the thought of moshing out to the gothic laced industrial dance sounds of one of the post-punk periods most creative bands, then this is about as close as you can get without a time machine.

 

Cover bands are out in force so you can catch The Tin Shack Band playing everything from the sixties to the present day at The Rolleston and The Swiss Chalet features Catch 22 playing…wait for it, pop and rock from the sixties to the present day.

 

Out at Riffs Bar, Sound Bites not only run through a set of classic rock covers they will also be raising money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance and FOLMS.

 

The week rounds off with a couple of great singer songwriters. Firstly on Sunday you can find Matt Chipperfield at The Beehive for the afternoon session and then on Wednesday at The Roaring Donkey you can catch the folky-Americana sound of Salisbury’s very own Sue Hart.

85df8c_b6d99471c8724edda61b68b9a6faf297.jpg_srz_548_824_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzThis weeks gig recommendation is the Anglo – Swedish outfit, We Ghosts. Regular visitors to The Beehive, the band are a refreshing blend of pop, jazz, folk and blues and as such have a dynamic range that encompasses late night, smoky jazz bar vibes, to full on folk-rock drives and everything in between. Formed around the not inconsiderable talents of vocalist Jenny Woodall and guitarist John Christopher but occasionally expanding to a full band of musicians, the initial impact comes from the vocals, not just Jenny’s four-octave range but the boy-girl vocal interplay. Once you look beyond that you will begin to see the subtleties of the song-crafting, particularly on their recorded work where wonderful layering and attention to detail takes place.

Watch Almost Alone by We Ghosts

 

But live is where the real magic happens as they blend stage charisma with dexterous musicianship, wonderful instrumentation with cross genre weaves and always remain an enjoyable, fun and wonderfully unique experience.

(written for Swindon Link Jan ’15)

thI know I bang on about gig information being a bit thin on the ground, especially for those not trained in the art of covert music research and stealth operations to locate said gigs but I have just thought of the real advantage to the people of Swindon to spreading the information. If I have plenty of gigs to write about then you don’t have to suffer my ponderous and tangential (not to mention overly verbose) introductions. Luckily for you, dear reader, this is one of those weeks, so on with the show.

 

Fans of folk and Americana have only one gig to concern themselves with tonight, Songs of Praise at The Victoria which sees the timely return of one of their most popular bookings, Case Hardin’(pictured). This is a band that channels the eloquence of Steve Earle, wistful emotion of Ryan Adams and travels the bleak hinterland of Springsteen’s Nebraska without once sounding like a tribute or a pastiche to the genre. After nearly destroying The Beehive as the final act of this years Shuffle, The Shudders join the bill for their unique blend of energetic indie-country and opening up is Songs of Praise favourite, sweet and soulful acoustic troubadour, Tamsin Quin.

 

Riffs Bar meanwhile has John Fogerty sideman Bob Malone. L.A. based Bob (that’s Los Angeles not Long Ashton) plays a high-energy blues, roots and rock hybrid mixed in with more than a dash of New Orleans R&B. Anglo-Swedish alternative acoustic trio, We Ghosts, will be filling The (newly refurbished) Beehive with their glorious harmonies and their wondrous weave of jazz, blues, folk and pop.

 

Friday is a mixture of rock and acoustic and you will find a bit of both in Bren Haze who is playing Riffs Acoustic Session. Once known for being the man behind the hi-octane, razor-wire riffs of The Unforeseen, Bren now does a neat line in dexterous, acoustic charm with just a hint of his former sound lurking in the background. The other acoustic offerings are The Regent Acoustic Circus, which features Joely and Wilmor, Tom McCarthy and your regular host, Nick Felix and Teddy White at The Beehive.

 

The rock element comes into play with Hot Flex who trade in metal and rock covers at The Rolleston and a tribute to Bon Jovi at The Victoria.

 

Possibly slightly outside the remit of the column but worth a mention on the basis that gig goers buy records, I want to just give a quick shoutout to The CD and Record fair taking place Saturday afternoon at the Central Community Centre in Emlyn Square. There, I did.

 

There is only room to touch briefly on the big event for Saturday, yes, The Reggae Garden is back at The Old Town Bowl. A huge line up of live music and DJ’s in the reggae, roots, dub and lovers rock genres, a wide range of soul food, BBQ and Caribbean cuisine plus children’s activities will make for a great day out. Check out their website for full details.

 

If you wish to continue the flavour of the day, catch The Shocks of Mighty DJ’s spinning the same vibe at The Beehive that evening. Elsewhere Syntronix take a wander through the eighties pop archive at The Victoria and Innes Sibun returns to The Rolleston for some blues standards and originals. Fans of the likes of Rory Gallagher will find a lot to like in his music. Next door, Level 3 wanders into new territory (for a club still very much associated with rock and metal) and hosts Felix and The Funk for a night of dance, disco, funk and frolics. Viva La Difference!

 

Sunday afternoon and S’Go, which derives from the ancient Icelandic word Skoe, (okay it doesn’t, but it sounds plausible) are a multi-instrumental group who play a set of original and covers, genre hopping through folk, blues, gypsy, country and more besides.

 

At The Victoria two rock leviathans hove into view. Obzidian play a brand of progressive thrash metal and they are joined by Shadows of Serenity who music trivia buffs should note contains ex-members of Sienna, Battlewitch and Traitor Born.

 

Finally, One last slice of acoustica can be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday in the guise of Drew Bryant.

SWINDON105_5Logo-300x186This week we interview Olly Ward who will be playing Blackadder at the Arts Centre. Music from: Ethemia, The Computers, The Fixed, We Ghosts, SoulSmith, British Harlem, Andy Partridge/Peter Blegvad/Stu Rowe, WalkerBroad, Matthew Caron, The Playmakers, Hip Route.

 

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993496_10151749777031146_1227491858_nSo there I was looking for inspiration to write this opening paragraph, trawling the Internet for interesting facts from which to spring into wondrous literary prose or at least amusing anecdote. Sadly, for all it’s billions of facts and articles the internet doesn’t seem to work like that and most of the information to be found between the postings of cats who look a bit like Hitler and the latest Justin Bieber antics seem an exercise in pointlessness and posture. I say most, as there were a few interesting nuggets to be found. For example did you know that David Bowie invented Connect 4? Air conditioning is actually helping to prevent global warming by cooling the earth. The fact that Mount Rushmore resembles famous American presidents is pure coincidence. Chicken pies actually came before the egg sandwich.  114% of the statistics found online are exaggerated for comic affect. Some of these might not be true, it’s like Abraham Lincoln famously said at Gettysburg, “not all quotes found on the Internet are accurate.”

With that in mind the best place to find out what is going on musically is here. I have done all the rigorous checking for you and can assure you that this 100% accurate, subject to change, the information given to me by promoters, the fickleness of musicians and natural disasters!

Tonight at The Victoria, Songs of Praise throw another loud and shouty collection of bands into the mix. The AK-Poets will be gracing the headline spot for their trade mark show of riotous, razor wire rock ‘n’roll riffing, meticulous melodies and more alliterative descriptions than you can throw a thesaurus at. Support is courtesy of the wonderfully named punk ‘n’roll outfit, Molotov Sexbomb and the opening salvo comes hard and heavy from Headcount. Old school rock and roll is back on the menu it would seem.

Something a bit more soothing can be found at The Beehive as Mambo Jambo mix up roots and world music styles into a cultural diverse musical odyssey. If something altogether funkier is your thing then The Soul Strutters at Baker Street is the place to be.

On Friday we have offerings that run from the sublime to the ridiculous. At one end we have Metalhead playing rock and metal classics at The Victoria and at the other it’s Showaddywaddy at The Wyvern Theatre. Blimey! In between those extremes you can find the eerie, understated acoustica of We Ghosts at The Beehive, whilst The Rolleston opts for fired up electric blues-rock with Keith Thompson and his band. Keith has worked with everyone from a pre-Motorhead Mick “Wurzel” Burston to Ruby Turner so musical quality is guaranteed.

Out at Riffs Bar the regular acoustic session features Jenny Bracey and Last Flight Home.  After trawling trough the copious amount of information on offer for this gig I can tell you that the former is a singer-songwriter and the latter is a new musical vehicle for Missin’ Rosie frontman Joe Rendell. That is all.

It’s the usual pre-dominance of standards and nostalgia on Saturday with a couple of exceptions. Towing the line are 1000 Planets at The Victoria with a set of punk, goth and new wave blasts from the past, The Great Nothing play rock classics at The Rolleston after which if you move down stairs to Basement 73 you will get another set of classic rock and metal from Dodging The Bullet. Meanwhile, at The Greyhound you will find Bombshell playing, wait for it….rock covers, anyone see a pattern forming here?

If you are looking for something to break the cycle, Splat The Rat play Folk Beat at The Castle, a blend of modern folk acoustica put to a world music back beat.

Also moving to the beat of their own drum is Nudybronque who launch their new e.p. at Riffs Bar.  After months holed up in a secret location in Old Town they have emerged with a more diverse sound, a raft of great songs, a shiny new CD and the same brand of charisma, lunatic charm and stage presence that got them noticed in the first place. To help them celebrate the night they have invited some of their favourite acts to join them. The Get Outs will play punked out rock, The Interceptors, infectious ska and Faye Rogers provides a gentle acoustic start to the evening.

More delicate acoustic sounds can be found at The Roaring Donkey on Wednesday in the shape of tousle hair troubadour Billyjon.

Live and Local

SWINDON105_5Logo-300x186This week we have John Day in interview about Swindon Photographic Society. Music from Three Minute Tease, We Ghosts, Pignose, Mr Love & Justice, Blythe Power, The King in Mirrors, The Blowbacks, Nudy Bronque, Emi McDade and Antonio Lulic.

 

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Library - 204I was amused to read today that in an effort to raise his profile, Robbie Williams has agreed to sell his soul for charity. Williams, whose soul will be sold at Sotheby’s next week said, “ I haven’t used it in a while, in fact I don’t think I have ever used it; I’ve always borrowed other peoples, mainly Guy Chambers.” Robbie is not the first musician to sell his soul; blues legend Robert Johnson did so in the 30’s, striking a Faustian pact with the Devil at a crossroads. Johnson’s soul is now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in America and valued at over $40 million. William’s soul has been set at a reserve price of £850 although a spokesman for Sotheby’s said “We hope it may reach £1000 if Japanese bidders express an interest.”

No gimmicks required for the music I want to recommend to you this week though, just heaps of talent and originality and it goes a bit like this.

Out at Riffs Bar tonight a bit of a new, local, super group is making it’s presence known. Alice Offley, Tiff Townsend, Evie Em-Jay and Gemma Hill are The Lovers and they deliver quality indie pop bathed in sumptuous harmonies, definitely worth catching. Support is from All Ears Avow, a new band rising from the alt-metal ashes of Mortdelamer.

Also a bit special is Grant Starkey at The Victoria, a man who neatly combines upright bass skills, stand-up style interludes and improvised banter; if something along the folk-roots-blues is more your sort of thing then head down to The Rolleston for Sam Green and The Midnight Heist, an act that fuses bluesy Americana with more anglicised folk, think Duane Allman in a musical arm wrestle with John Martyn. And if none of those appeal then The Beehive features the harmonious atmospherics of Anglo-Swedish combo, We Ghosts.

After a well-attended launch show last month, The Secret Chord, a new gig night at Riffs Bar fires it’s opening salvo on Friday. As a bit of a calling card for the quality you can expect,  they have lined up White Knuckle Bride to headline the first proper show. Old school sleaze rock is on the cards, a beautiful collision of razor wire riffs, big choruses, aggression and attitude. Support comes from The Damned and The Dirty who splice similar vibes with via grunge and metal and Oscillator, now returned to the live fray as an originals band.

Back in town and The Costellos unleash themselves upon The Victoria. Last time I saw them they were a five piece but now they have expanded the brass section meaning that there are now seven of the little blighters on stage now. Their music still promises exotic blends of pop, ska, funk, reggae, gypsy jazz and even a waft of punked up mariachi. Sounds like a good night, especially with SN Dubstation and Sigma 12 kicking the night off. The Beehive opts for funked up blues courtesy of Hiproute.

After the hectic launch last weekend, Basement 73 gets down to the business of backing up the promises it made about moving the venues musical focus forward in fine style on Saturday with a great line up. A mixed bag of rock, indie and punk-pop is on offer from The Dead Famous, Hold The Fight, Sell Your Sky and Starlight City. Meanwhile upstairs in The Rolleston, Laurence Jones represents the sound of the new generation of electric blues.

Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe (pictured) are two great musicians in their own right, which is why when they collaborated on the album “ On Hire” the result was an amazing work that resonates with timeless grace, that connects various eras, styles, genres, cultures and even geographical locations without once sounding like a pastiche or parody of any one part of it’s sum. All that at The Beehive Sunday afternoon and afterward head up The Rolleston for another outing for Hiproute’s, Jim Blair, this time minus the rest of the band but with the same amount of groove.

Finally on Wednesday, a bone fide musical icon descends on The Beehive, probably via an alien craft. Ex-Soft Machine and Gong man, Daevid Allen, brings his weird world to town. Expect the unexpected…and probably goblins.

For a more straight forward serving suggestion catch the dulcet tones, introspective lyrics and wonderful harmonies of The Right Hooks at The Running Horse, a great band…..and probably no goblins.